A few weeks ago, Robbie must have wondered what the hell he had taken on as a coaching client. My feedback on the first week of training went something like this:
on the whole, felt OK
Tired and lethargic
I am not a morning runner!!
If I wasn’t ready to top myself, Robbie probably was.
What didn’t help was the weather, it seemed to have taken the life out of me as we turned from sunshine back to rain again! I generally don’t have a problem going out in the rain; I used to hate it, and made every excuse to not go out in it. Once upon a time I’d have validated these excuses and not gone out, now whenever asked why I run in the rain I simply highlight that I can’t select the weather and must run in whatever is thrown at me; who knows what the weather will be like on race day? With the right gear on any run can be comfortable.
Maybe I was just tired though, this training week was the second full week after the NDW so I still had some lingering tiredness I suppose. The following week was such a distinct difference though. It is great to have fairly constant contact with a coach and this particular young whipper-snapper (can I say that? He is younger than me*) is very enthusiastic which helps immensely.
That second week of coaching included my successful Cooper Test attempt, an 8 mile midweek run, my first targeted recovery run, 13 miles on the trails and then a monster hill session! Brilliant. Not my longest mileage week, but a really positive one and I felt so much stronger (in my mind, my body was broken after that Boxhill session).
This week was my third week of coaching, and it kicked off with a track session on Tuesday as has become usual. This week though, we weren’t at the track, instead we headed onto Stoke Park where a number of grass tracks are laid out. Ours was approx 200m, though we only used the outside lane so each lap was a little further than that. The session on offer was the Parlov.
This is a new session for me, and not one I’d come across until I saw it on the training plan. Simply put, the Parlov is run in pairs; as the session starts person one goes off at pace whilst person two jogs very gently from the start line, once person one catches up then they switch and person two sprints off whilst person one drops to a slow jog. On a damp grass track there was not much traction, and as I turned up late I got a partner who was quicker than me so he had more recovery than I did. It was great fun though as we completed 12 fast reps each. Mine lasted approximately 1:23 and I covered 1.5 laps. My partner, David, was averaging about 1:10 so that is what my recovery was. After the hill session on Sunday I had pretty tired legs by the end of Tuesday, but on my recovery run on Wednesday they were finally feeling like my own legs again!
Friday almost went very horribly wrong after spending the day at a conference in London during which I ate very poorly. I got home and headed out for my nine mile run. My stomach got rather agitated during the run and the final mile or so was exceedingly uncomfortable. I’ll spare you the details, but I needed to maintain a pace fast enough to get home, but not too fast as to jiggle ‘stuff’ around.
I did a second hill set in 6 days on Saturday. The plan called for a simple session – find a hill and run up it; for ninety minutes!! I had searched the maps of the local area to find something similar to our Boxhill session. At the top of Barhatch Road I found a nice trail which measured just over half a mile and gains about 200ft of elevation. I set of at a pace I hoped to finish at – a tip I learned at Boxhill last week. In the end I completed 8 repetitions of this hill in total. I finished the session pretty darn tired, but kinda strong too!
Yesterday I filled my new bag with all the gear for the weekend and set off for 13 miles. It was another hilly session and although there was a bit of rain I had an absolute blast out on the trails. I am very excited for the trip to Chamonix. Woohoo
Oh, and PS, you should totally read Robbie Britton‘s blog from the Petzl SDW 100 this weekend where he demolished the course record by finishing in 15:43! Amazing! Lets see whether he can coach me to that kind of success on the North Downs!! Haha, I wish!
*by about 1 year